Billionaire Mat Ishbia is now officially running the ship with the Phoenix Suns. According to multiple media reports, the NBA Board of Governors has approved the sale of the organization from disgraced former owner Robert Sarver to Ishbia for a whopping $4 billion.
It was back in December that Ishbia entered into an agreement with Sarver to buy both the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. However, it needed to be approved by the aforementioned board.
That happened Monday night. Owners approved the sale by a vote of 29-0 with the Cleveland Cavaliers abstaining. The fact that Cleveland, led by owner Daniel Gilbert, abstained is actually rather interesting.
Gilbert and Ishbia have been business rivals for some time now with the latter calling out his counterpart multiple times in the past. Ishbia is the CEO and chairman of United Wholesale Mortgage and is worth roughly $5 Billion. Gilbert owns Rocket Mortgage.
A former basketball player at Michigan State, Ishbia takes over as the Suns’ owner at an important moment for the franchise. Not only is the NBA trade deadline on Thursday, he’s taking over for an individual in Sarver who faced a ton of scrutiny and was penalized by the Association for overseeing an atmosphere of alleged racist and misogynistic behavior.
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Mat Ishbia takes over as the Phoenix Suns’ owner mere days before NBA trade deadline
Ishbia’s tenure as the Suns’ owner officially starts with three days to go before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. It also comes after they missed out on pulling off a blockbuster trade for former Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving, who was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks in a trade that was made official earlier on Monday.
The backdrop here is an edict from Mat Ishbia for the Phoenix Suns to find another star player to team up with franchise cornerstone Devin Booker. The expectation is that this team is going to be active in pursuing said star before the deadline comes and goes Thursday afternoon.
For his part, future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul was reportedly offered up in trade talks with Brooklyn for Irving. He spoke to that earlier on Monday.
“It’s a business. I’ve seen crazier. The way I found out I was traded from Houston. You just show up to work and be a pro day in and day out. Nobody’s exempt from being traded. Find out just like everybody else.”Chris Paul on trade rumors
Paul will likely be one of the pieces headed out of town should Mat Ishbia get his wish and Suns general manager James Jones pulls off a blockbuster before Thursday afternoon.
From a practical standpoint, this transition being made official makes it easier for the Suns to plan for the deadline. It also comes mere hours after president and CEO Jason Rowley resigned.